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Political season opens for city offices

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Posted: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 12:00 am

Maria J. Flora

Two well-known city officials and a grandmother with no political experience registered Wednesday for the 2007 primary mayoral race.Mayor John Zumer, in his first term, is the only Democratic candidate so far. He arrived at the voter registration office early, friends, family and Democratic Party Chairman James Stytle smiling at his side.City Council President Steve Frees (R-At Large) also registered. Frees, in his second council term, has oft been in the minority this term. He and usually two others have voted against measures Frees thought not in the voters' best interest. But three are a minority on a seven-member council.Frees said he has a good feel for what voters want, know and like and they are telling him they are unhappy. "There are a lot of things that have been done differently than I would have done and I think everything has not been done that's best for the community," Frees said. Handling of an industrial park still in its early stages and its proposed anchor tenant Polyglot Press, in addition to the controversial overlay district rank high among them."It's going to be a lot of work to get things straightened out and I'm planning on doing it," Frees said.Zumer is proud of his accomplishments this term. He presented the "Zumer Blueprint," his plan for action, in the last campaign and refers to it now on his Web site: zumer2007.com.Zumer and the city council have achieved 31 of the 46 goals listed in the blueprint. "I was never so disingenuous as to say those things would happen overnight," he said. The vacant, derelict former Culver Hospital project, for instance, has not seen completion, but much progress was made. The abandoned slaughterhouse was razed and an industrial park begun."We'll let the people be the judge of what they consider progress," Zumer said."I hope people remember what's happened the last three years when they go to vote," Frees said."I think it's going to be an exciting race for Crawfordsville and I think there needs to be pride and cooperation brought back into our community. We've been without it for awhile." Frees is a Hoover Elementary 4th-grade teacher."This year's city election will be monumental," Zumer said on his Web site. "And we can't afford a return of indecisive mayoral leadership. I challenge any opponent to a campaign built upon fresh ideas designed to improve our lives. The innovative policies I have proposed are realistic, achievable, and needed."A third candidate, Sandy Dawson, has no clue how to be mayor by her own admission, but said she can learn. Dawson's registration on the Republican ticket surprised that party's chairman Dan Pool. "You never know what's going to happen," he said. "I think there could be other candidates out there, but (all but one of) the people who told me they were interested at one time or another have fallen away."Although she was previously unknown to members, the Republican party will support Dawson in her bid for their nomination for the Nov. 6 general election. They will welcome her to the Lincoln Day Dinner Feb. 24, "just like any other mayoral candidate," Pool said."I think it's very important that people who can contribute to the city and make it better stand up and say 'I can do that,'" Stytle said of Dawson.Another surprise for those in the know is that Crawfordsville Deputy Clerk Treasurer Terri Gadd is running for the Republican bid for Clerk Treasurer, while the current officeholder will not.Democrat Nellie Thompson has held that office since 1992. Thompson and Gadd have considered the switch for two years. Gadd, also the payroll clerk, "is as experienced as you can be until you actually have to do it," Thompson said.Thompson is, however, considering a bid for a council seat, but is still gathering information before making a decision.Several Democrats are considering a bid for a council seat, "but are yet to reach a firm conclusion and who want to continue to contemplate it in private," Stytle said. He expects one or two to register, but hopes for more."This year we are the majority party in Indiana and nationally … Two-thousand and six was a good year and we hope to keep the momentum going through 2007."Roger Walther (R) is running for the Ward 5 seat held by Dennis Cook. Roger Rockenbaugh (R) is running for a second term in Ward 4. Registration ends at noon Feb. 23. All seven city council seats and the mayor and clerk treasurer's offices are up for election. The primary election will be May 8.

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